influence of the Church on civil law

Since Christianity is an ethical religion it must influence the rules of human conduct. Ecclesiastics have assisted in legislation, government, and the administration of justice from the beginning of the Christian Era. They aided in framing laws for barbarians, e.g., the Lex Romana Visigothorum; dispensed justice in civil and criminal matters; and advised rulers, e.g., the lord chancellor of England was usually an ecclesiastic. The Church revolutionized legislation in regard to slavery, marriage, paternal authority, and legal procedure. The right of sanctuary and the "Truce of God" were innovations by the Church; and trial by ordeal was condemned by the following popes: Nicholas I (858-867), Stephen V (VI) (885-891), Alexander II (1061-1073), Celestine III (1191-1198), Innocent III (1198-1216), and Honorius III (1216-1218).

New Catholic Dictionary

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